Flint axe

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An ancient Scandinavian Neolithic flint axe worked from a fine white colored flint. We can see how this ax was carefully polished to achieve the pleasing finish on the blade end, but it remains pocked with percussion marks around the area that would have been woven in cord and attached to a wooden handle.

These tools date to the north-west European Neolithic, the period when societies across northern Europe began to adopt agriculture. The magnitude of the changes during this era cannot be overstated. The transition from hunter-gatherer societies towards a more sedentary, farm-oriented existence is one of the most critical moments in human history, ultimately enabling the rise of civilization. It was stone tools that paved the way for this development, cutting down the ancient forests that had supported hunter gather societies for thousands of years and allowing the growth of crops and grazing animals.

The Neolithic Scandinavians were a conservative people, who clung resolutely to the use of stone tools even as their neighbours adopted metalworking. This evocative artefact; broad, hardy and strong, has more than a hint of the society that produced it.

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